By Vicky Houchin

THE livestock industry has been boosted by the Governments decision to pay the £20 million bill for the removal of Specified Risk Material from carcasses as part of the BSE control measures.

The announcement was made by Agriculture Minister Nick Brown during a debate in the House of Commons on the crisis in the livestock industry yesterday evening (Wednesday).

Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) chairman, Don Curry welcomed this news saying that it would be a sigh of relief to the meat industry and to farmers who were worried that the planned imposition of the charges on slaughterhouses would be passed back to them.

“We were extremely worried that any additional charges would have put additional pressure on livestock farmers already in serious financial difficulties, so making their position even worse,” said Mr Curry.

If these charges had gone ahead many feared that it would have put the UK at a serious disadvantage with its competitors.

Mr Brown announced that the Government is to pay the charges over the coming year and will also undertake a close examination on the impact of other charges.

“All of these steps will provide reassurance that the Government wants to see a competitive meat and livestock industry,” said Mr Curry.